Knights fall to Carver 22-15

Carver, the first-place team in Region 6-5A, narrowly escapes Lakewood Stadium with a late victory over the Knights.


Sean Sweeney

Du’jwan Washington celebrates a late 2 point conversion

The Knights, winless this season, nearly upset the region-leading Carver Panthers Sept. 30 before falling 22-15.

The loss dropped the Knights to 0-5 as Carver moved to 5-1. Carver is tied for first place in Region 6-5A.

“We played them tough being that they are the number 1 team in the region,”  coach Earthwind Moreland said. “The guys never gave up and pressed hard, but we didn’t come up with the result that we wanted. Looking forward, we need to capitalize on mistakes better, but at the end of the day we still have a chance [at a playoff berth].”

While there is no longer a mathematical chance for a winning season for the Knights, players were still encouraged by the play against the Panthers.

“We played this game well and stuck together as one,” senior wide receiver Quillian Felton said.

The Knights’ first drive saw them move the ball all the way down to the 20 yard line, but turned the ball over on downs.

Carver faced 1st and 30 before being intercepted by Du’jwan Washington. The first quarter ended with the teams locked at 0.

Carver seemed to have scored a touchdown on a perfect pass to De’Anthony Ball, but it was called back due to a penalty. The threatening drive ended with a turnover on downs at the 18 yard line. Both teams traded fruitless possessions throughout the second quarter.

During Grady’s longest possession of the game, Carver received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after cornerback Anthony Odom picked up a missing Grady mouthpiece and threw it off the playing field.

Leading up to then, both teams had been shouting at one another and hitting a little harder than usual. Grady ended a long possession and the first half with a hard fought 4 yard touchdown rush from Craig Philpot.

On the next possession, De’Angelo Spivey intercepted a pass at the Carver 30 yard line to secure Grady’s first half lead, going into the locker room 7-0.

Carver took the lead after a beautiful 35 yard pass and a long rush earned them six points, and the Panthers tacked on two more with a 2-point conversion.

A bit of controversy unfolded when Carver muffed a punt, but had called for a fair catch. Grady recovered the ball but, after an 8-minute pause in the action, the officials decided that the punt receiver was deterred and awarded Carver the football.

After both teams were set to start play again, the officials decided to redo the punt. After the teams traded possessions, Grady punter Clifford Soro muffed the snap and gave Carver possession on the Grady 15 with a minute to go in the 3rd quarter. Carver capitalized on the mistake, scoring a quick six points and increasing its lead to 14-7.

Grady was threatening in the red zone, but Grady quarterback Aquinas Stillwell muffed the snap and Carver recovered. After another long meeting between referees, it was decided that Stillwell was down, and Grady continued its late-game pursuit of the goal line.

Stillwell made up for the mistake by scoring a rushing touchdown with a goal line dive. Grady opted to take the lead with a successful 2-point conversion with 2 yard pass. With 4:16 left to play, Grady led 15-14.

Carver started its redemption drive with a 21 yard pass to Quinton Dukes-Johnson. The very next snap, Carver back Jo’quavious Marks scored a 59 yard rushing touchdown that gave the Panthers the lead, 22-15 with 3:33 left. Grady threw an interception with 3:14 remaining, and gave Carver prime real estate at the 30 yard line.

On a last-chance drive with under 1 minute remaining, Stillwell threw another interception, but a flag caused a long discussion between the referees on the outcome of the game.

During the confusion, coach Earthwind Moreland received an unsportsmanlike conduct call for running onto the field. The call against Carver was roughing the passer, but Grady lost yardage due to the unsportsmanlike conduct call. The game ended after a failed Hail Mary pass.

Despite the loss, Grady players see improvement from previous games.

“I feel like the defense and offense stepped up,” sophomore cornerback Alvin James said. “The referees didn’t give us a chance.”

Grady’s next game will be the homecoming game against North Springs at Grady stadium on Oct. 13 at 7:30 PM.